The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) in a letter addressed to the Chairman and the members of the Constitutional Council (CC) cautions it of the nomination forwarded by President Maithripala Sirisena claiming that the ‘individual nominee has no judicial experience to be appointed as a judge of the Court of Appeal.
The letter signed by the president of the BASL, Kalinga Indatissa President’s Counsel, shows strong objections to the president’s decision to nominate the Additional Secretary-legal, attached to the Presidential Secretariat; Attorney at Law Luckshmi Menaka Minu Jayawickrema, to the CC for its consideration to be appointed to the position of a judge of the Court of Appeal.
This letter follows President Sirisena’s decision to forward a name to the CC to be considered for the post vacated by retired justice M.M.A Gafoor. Jayawickrema’s is the only name forwarded to the Constitutional Council in the said letter by the President.
“We understand that a nomination has been made by His Excellency the President of a nominee who has been attached to the Presidential Secretariat over a period of time. The individual nominee has no judicial experience to be appointed as a judge of the Court of Appeal,” the BASL letter states.
The decision to forward the said name for consideration of the CC is appeared to be, be made disregarding two other recommendations forwarded by the Chief Justice as well as the Attorney General, an act which the BASL claims can be detrimental to the Rule of Law and that will set a bad precedent.
According to sources, it is reliably learnt that the Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya has suggested the name of the Kegalle High Court judge Ruwan Fernando, while the Attorney General, Dappula de Livera, has forwarded the name of Senior Deputy Solicitor General Sobitha Rajakaruna’s name to be considered for the position.
“Disregarding such recommendations would be detrimental to the Rule of Law and administration of Justice. We make these observations having regard to the mechanism of such appointments previously adopted and followed, and especially in the context of nominating an appointee who has served under the Executive over a period of time. Such an appointment would create a precedent which would not augur well for the profession” the BASL states.
The letter further states that the BASL is mindful of the fact that higher judiciary requires a blend of academic and professional career judges.
“While we consider the contributions made by the learned judges nominated through the Attorney General’s Department as being important and highly significant, we are also concerned about the ratio of the career judges who have been appointed to the Apex courts of this country during the last two decades,” the letter read.